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CHP arrests, releases 70 at Capitol

12:51 AM, Mar 6, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Protesters remain inside Capitol rotunda after closing time

Video: CHP stage outside Capitol

  • California Highway Patrol officers stand watch inside Capitol rotunda.
  • More than 100 CHP officers in riot gear staged on west steps of Capitol.

SACRAMENTO, CA - State troopers arrested nearly 70 protesters who refused to leave the California Capitol after repeated warnings.

The arrests capped a day of protests over cuts to higher education that saw thousands descend upon Sacramento.

"We've been marching and holding rallies for years. The cuts keep coming to public education. The situation requires collective direct action and that's why I'm here today," U.C. Berkeley doctoral candidate Jennifer Tucker said.

The California Highway Patrol said 68 people were arrested Monday evening and four earlier in the day.

Maurice Weeks, a member of Occupy Oakland was one of those arrested inside the rotunda on the capitol's west side.

"We want them to support the millionaires tax, we want to cancel all student debt, we want to repeal Prop 13 and we want to democratize the UC Regents," Weeks said.

He was arrested about an hour later, along with roughly 70 others students and Occupy members.

RELATED STORY: Students rally against education cuts

Protesters arrested in the Capitol rotunda were processed at the CHP academy and then release in the parking lot of IKEA in West Sacramento, according to an ACLU observer.

They were part of a boisterous daylong protest over state budget cuts to higher education that have led to steep tuition increases and fewer courses at California's public universities and colleges.

Thousands swarmed the Capitol lawn, waving signs and chanting, "They say cut back, we say fight back."

Monday night, hundreds of demonstrators protested outside the Capitol. There were just as many uniformed officers in riot gear. No arrests were made.

"There's no reason why there's hundreds of cops in riot gear. Even if they are going to arrest a couple dozen people inside the Capitol," teacher Lita Blank said. "It's upsetting. I live in democracy. I don't know why they had to turn out in riot gear."

"We had a pledge of non-violence and we kept it," UC Berkeley graduate student Javiera Barandarian said.

The Associated Press

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